Welten Wins Bunch Sprint at Templeuve15. March 2017, Templeuve (BEL) — Development Team
BMC Development Team dominated the race from start to finish at Templeuve today (March 15) with riders in every breakaway before a bunch sprint saw Bram Welten seal his second victory of the season.
As soon as the flag was dropped, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Reto Müller, and Patrick Müller were part of an early seven-rider breakaway. Despite their advantage only hovering around the one-minute mark, they were able to stay out at the front for the the first nine laps of the day.
With the race eventually coming back together, it wasn't long before the race saw more attacks off the front of the peloton with Marc Hirschi and Pascal Eenkhoorn part of the only other successful move of the day.
With two laps to go, Hirschi launched an attack from the front group of five riders and rode solo until he was reeled back in by the main bunch approaching the final kilometers of the day.
BMC Development Team quickly reorganized themselves at the front of the peloton to set up the lead-out train for Welten. One by one, the riders swung off before Van Hooydonck positioned Welten at the front of the peloton to power over the line and take the victory.
Winner's Interview with Bram Welten
Congratulations Bram! Were you expecting today's race to come down to a sprint?
"I was ready to sprint today but when we saw how fast the pace was, I wasn't sure what would happen or if there would be splits in the bunch. We were in a great position all day with riders out in the breakaway, and it was only on the final lap that we really had to control the race and that helped keep the pressure off us a little."
Talk us through the final leadout and your sprint.
"The guys did an incredible job and I'm super happy that I could finish it off for them at the end. On the last lap, I had seven riders in front of me, and they were keeping the pace really high so that no-one could pass or box me in. Nathan Van Hooydonck did the final lead-out, and he knows exactly what to do so, I had such a high speed by the time it came down to my final sprint that it was just a case of maintaining that to the line."
Looking ahead, does this give you confidence for the stage races to come?
"Definitely. I have Tour of Normandy coming up, and that's a big race for us so I hope I can continue this form there."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
"I was really happy with the team today. It was a full team effort with riders in every significant move before the team set up an almost perfect lead-out for Bram Welten. This was the first of three races for us this week, and then we start Tour of Normandy on Monday, so this will raise the morale and give everyone a lot of motivation."
Templeuve Kermesse Race
One day race / 115km
Top 3: 1. Bram Welten (BMC Development Team) 2. Louis Verhelst (Sauzen Pauwels-Vastgoedserivce) 3. Martin Schäppi (BMC Development Team)